Andee Jaide

@andee-jaide | contributor
Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder isn’t always easy, but it can be done. DID presents in a myriad of different ways and is a very personal, individual experience.
Andee Jaide

Healing From Trauma Means Cleaning Up the Mess You Didn't Make

Pretend you live in a house. A party is thrown that you did not plan and didn’t ask to have happen, but happens just the same. It’s a horrible party. People are tearing things up, throwing things in your pool, getting sick all over your carpet and not cleaning it up, clogging your toilets, police are called over and over, they show up, don’t do anything, and no one actually leaves, and the party and the damage continue for years. Finally, after hiding under your bed from the noise for years on end, it’s silent, and you emerge. The house is completely trashed and should probably be condemned. But it’s your house, you own it outright, and if you allow it to be condemned, where else will you have to live? Nowhere. So you stay. You step over the missing stairs and hunks of pulled back carpet. You drink from the same dirty glass and eat from the same dirty plate over and over and over again. You can’t drink water from the tap since the water’s been turned off due to someone breaking the pipes, so bottled water it is. The fridge and stove are broken and there’s a raccoon living in the microwave, so you eat out. The bed is missing a leg, but it’s yours so it’ll work, right? I mean, you didn’t make this mess, you sure as heck aren’t gonna clean this mess up, right? I’m talking feces smeared on the ceiling and urine in the bathtub; you aren’t cleaning any of that mess up, right? But no one else is cleaning it up. No one else is offering to clean it for you, and it’s your house, they can’t spend as long as it would take to clean your house, now can they? You don’t have the power to twitch your nose and have it be all clean by itself, so… now what? One day, you decide to talk to someone about the state of your house. You talk about the couch in three pieces and recliner with no back. You describe the mice and ants and creatures with the gift of flight you have been living with for years. You describe it all! And this person listens to it all. And that feels good. And so you talk about it some more. And you tell the details more and more. And then this person has the audacity to ask if you want some ideas on how to clean it up!! What?! Clean it up? Uh, you didn’t make the mess, you aren’t going to clean it up. So you live with it for a while longer, but this person keeps offering ways to make things a bit neater. Things like picking up the overturned end table and setting it next to the broken down bed again. And pulling a few weeds from between the floorboards. And next thing you know, you start to think how nice it would be if your house was all cleaned up. But, you didn’t make the mess, you shouldn’t have to clean it up. So you yell, and you scream, and you cry and complain about how you shouldn’t have to clean up the mess. Because, after all, you shouldn’t. And the mess stays right where it is. And sometimes you can’t remember what the house even looked like more put together, in the days before that party really got going. Or maybe when you bought it and it was already a mess. So why should you have to clean up someone else’s mess? Because the mess isn’t going to clean itself. It’s your house. You can clean or not. You can accept a mess was made that you have to clean up or not. You can cry and scream it isn’t fair and either decide, “Fine, I’ll clean up the damn mess!” or you can live in that sty for as long as you like. But the mess isn’t going to clean itself.

Andee Jaide

How to Support Someone With Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) can be isolating. Stigma and media portrayal of DID keeps many of us quiet about our disorder and shame is an inherent part of DID. So, when we do open up, people around us often don’t know what to do or what to say, how to interact without upsetting us. Family members who were not involved may also feel guilt and confusion as to why they didn’t see the signs of trauma in their loved one. This is a list of 10 things you can do to help your friend or loved one with dissociative identity disorder feel less alone and more accepted. 1. Support your friend or family member with unconditional love and an open mind. 2. Watch for things that are obviously upsetting to your loved one and try to avoid doing them when possible. 3. Ask questions as needed, but back off if asked to or if it is obviously causing stress. 4. Understand to the best of your ability, and try to educate yourself if you feel you are in over your head. 5. Find a support group for significant others of people with DID or general  mental illness — online works. (Btw, I personally hate that term — I don’t feel like we have an illness, but rather a very successful but relatively unique way to survive and relate to the world.) 6. Go with the flow. Relate, to the best of your ability, to whoever is with you at the time. If you are suddenly faced with a very young insider, use small words, short sentences and offer age appropriate activities. A game of Risk with a 5-year-old will just frustrate the child, even if it is in an adult body. Frustration will likely lead to a switch to someone else inside to deal with the frustration. 7. Use the terminology that the person with DID uses. If they grimace when you say a word or ask you not to use certain words, don’t use them. 8. Respect their space, both boundaries in life and in personal space. A person may back up when you come near or shrug off touch. Don’t push it; they’ll let you know when they feel comfortable or safe enough for you to move to the next level in their boundaries. 9. If a person looks confused in the middle of the conversation and can’t follow it, switch subjects or backtrack a little. There may have been a switch you didn’t catch mid-conversation (or sentence) or there may be inner or outside stimulation you are not aware of making it hard to concentrate/follow. 10. There are lots of things you probably already do right — that’s why you have been allowed into the inner circle and know about the DID at all. Be natural, respectful and honest; you will do just fine. Follow this journey on the author’s Facebook page. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Image via contributor

Andee Jaide

Saying 'I Won't Put in More Effort Than You Are' Harms Recovery

“I’m not willing to put in more effort than you are.” I hear this all the time, both working in the mental health field and as a consumer of mental health services. First and foremost, put in the damned effort! We’re not trying to be difficult. Or turn your hair grey. Or make you work extra hard.  Mental illness often makes it hard to hear anything other than the negative. It can convince you that you have no intrinsic value. That you are not important or aren’t worth even your own effort. Someone who keeps fighting for you, even when they can’t see the effort, breeds the want and desire to do, and be, better. Depression is a liar. It steals your ability to see your own value and worth, so seeing it in someone else’s actions is sometimes enough to kickstart hopeful thinking. Especially when the effort has to be repeated time and time again. Especially when the other person persists well beyond the defenses of shame and self-loathing. And especially when I don’t think it exists. But, make sure what you think the value the other person should have, is actually what they want. Make certain your goals align. A classic example is addiction . You may want the other person to stop some addictive behavior, but does that person want to quit? Maybe that isn’t a value they hold yet. Your pushing and pushing and trying and trying to get someone to quit something they are not done doing could be why you are putting in so much effort with no perceived thanks or change. Anyone who has tried to quit smoking cigarettes for anyone but themselves — because they want to quit — will likely tell you it didn’t work. If you aren’t done doing the addictive behavior, at some point the likelihood of you picking back up the habit is incredibly high. But, if the values do align, hold onto that hope the other person hasn’t been able to grasp just yet. It’s slippery and may take many, many tries — do it anyway. It’s worth the effort to see the “aha” moment it all clicks. The moment recovery begins. So, please… Hold onto hope for me, until I can hold onto it for myself.

Andee Jaide

Saying 'I Won't Put in More Effort Than You Are' Harms Recovery

“I’m not willing to put in more effort than you are.” I hear this all the time, both working in the mental health field and as a consumer of mental health services. First and foremost, put in the damned effort! We’re not trying to be difficult. Or turn your hair grey. Or make you work extra hard.  Mental illness often makes it hard to hear anything other than the negative. It can convince you that you have no intrinsic value. That you are not important or aren’t worth even your own effort. Someone who keeps fighting for you, even when they can’t see the effort, breeds the want and desire to do, and be, better. Depression is a liar. It steals your ability to see your own value and worth, so seeing it in someone else’s actions is sometimes enough to kickstart hopeful thinking. Especially when the effort has to be repeated time and time again. Especially when the other person persists well beyond the defenses of shame and self-loathing. And especially when I don’t think it exists. But, make sure what you think the value the other person should have, is actually what they want. Make certain your goals align. A classic example is addiction . You may want the other person to stop some addictive behavior, but does that person want to quit? Maybe that isn’t a value they hold yet. Your pushing and pushing and trying and trying to get someone to quit something they are not done doing could be why you are putting in so much effort with no perceived thanks or change. Anyone who has tried to quit smoking cigarettes for anyone but themselves — because they want to quit — will likely tell you it didn’t work. If you aren’t done doing the addictive behavior, at some point the likelihood of you picking back up the habit is incredibly high. But, if the values do align, hold onto that hope the other person hasn’t been able to grasp just yet. It’s slippery and may take many, many tries — do it anyway. It’s worth the effort to see the “aha” moment it all clicks. The moment recovery begins. So, please… Hold onto hope for me, until I can hold onto it for myself.

Community Voices

How would anyone with DID want to be represented in media, specifically in a fantasy book?

#DID #Representation

(If this isn’t where I should post this or post this question at all, I sincerely apologize!)

So I’m working on a fiction fantasy book and working on a DID character. I’ve done a lot of research on how media has represented DID characters and where that’s gone terribly wrong to say the least. I was hoping to politely ask for some opinions, but how would anyone with DID like to see characters with DID represented in a fantasy book? More specifically what you’d want to see and less of what maybe you wouldn’t want to read.

I’ve seen a lot about how DID characters have been villainized or made to seem dangerous(ex. Split), what would you want to see in a DID character in a fantasy story?

3 people are talking about this
Community Voices
Community Voices

Make It Stop!!

<p>Make It Stop!!</p>
2 people are talking about this
Andee Jaide

The Best Therapists Understand How to Be Culturally Sensitive

Culture is … everything. Every little bit of what makes you who you are. There are common themes of culture between families and friends, work and spiritual settings and home. Culture is far more than where you come from or your ethnicity or race. Culture is customs and habits and attitudes. Culture is what makes you, you. Here’s the thing, all therapists need to be culturally sensitive. The best therapists recognize my culture isn’t their culture, that my history isn’t their history. That my customs, habits and attitudes, may not match theirs. That what I was taught within my racial circle may color how I respond to interventions and the therapeutic process itself. Racially, there are many cultures in which seeking help for mental health is taboo. And if you do seek help, trusting a therapist can help hold the heavy burdens of life may feel impossible based solely on everything you have heard in family talk and media coverage. And often, encouraging certain coping skills will be instantly shot down … because culturally, sometimes they make no sense. Many families don’t speak to each other about their emotional well-being, so confronting someone about their behavior might be ludicrous in their eyes. Not an option. The best therapists know they need to ask about culture and allow a person to lead themselves where they need to go within their cultural boundaries. And they know their boundaries may not coincide with their client’s. And they are OK with that because this is the client’s journey, not theirs. High end cars are a culture. Poverty is a culture. Baseball is a culture. Overachieving, dropping out, having pets, shouting, how you decorate your home, birthday celebrations (or lack of) — all of these are cultures. Even child abuse can be culturally reinforced or accepted. Families learn to not talk to people, to keep their head down and obey, that grooming behaviors are “OK,” that’s just what parents do to kids. They grow up and changing those habits and ways of life can be seen as changing a part of your culture, a part of who you are. The best therapists know it will not be easy and maybe a person doesn’t believe they need to change, for cultural reasons. Dad did it me, his dad did it to him and his dad before him. This is how dads act. This is what dads do. Breaking that cycle of abuse before another person is hurt can mean changing a person’s view on one of their cultures. And the best therapists know the lens through which they see life, their history and their experiences, may vastly differ from their client’s. Your therapist may know the definition of shame, may have felt shame through their lens and history, but they have never (and will never) have felt shame through yours. And the best therapists know this.

Andee Jaide

The Best Therapists Understand How to Be Culturally Sensitive

Culture is … everything. Every little bit of what makes you who you are. There are common themes of culture between families and friends, work and spiritual settings and home. Culture is far more than where you come from or your ethnicity or race. Culture is customs and habits and attitudes. Culture is what makes you, you. Here’s the thing, all therapists need to be culturally sensitive. The best therapists recognize my culture isn’t their culture, that my history isn’t their history. That my customs, habits and attitudes, may not match theirs. That what I was taught within my racial circle may color how I respond to interventions and the therapeutic process itself. Racially, there are many cultures in which seeking help for mental health is taboo. And if you do seek help, trusting a therapist can help hold the heavy burdens of life may feel impossible based solely on everything you have heard in family talk and media coverage. And often, encouraging certain coping skills will be instantly shot down … because culturally, sometimes they make no sense. Many families don’t speak to each other about their emotional well-being, so confronting someone about their behavior might be ludicrous in their eyes. Not an option. The best therapists know they need to ask about culture and allow a person to lead themselves where they need to go within their cultural boundaries. And they know their boundaries may not coincide with their client’s. And they are OK with that because this is the client’s journey, not theirs. High end cars are a culture. Poverty is a culture. Baseball is a culture. Overachieving, dropping out, having pets, shouting, how you decorate your home, birthday celebrations (or lack of) — all of these are cultures. Even child abuse can be culturally reinforced or accepted. Families learn to not talk to people, to keep their head down and obey, that grooming behaviors are “OK,” that’s just what parents do to kids. They grow up and changing those habits and ways of life can be seen as changing a part of your culture, a part of who you are. The best therapists know it will not be easy and maybe a person doesn’t believe they need to change, for cultural reasons. Dad did it me, his dad did it to him and his dad before him. This is how dads act. This is what dads do. Breaking that cycle of abuse before another person is hurt can mean changing a person’s view on one of their cultures. And the best therapists know the lens through which they see life, their history and their experiences, may vastly differ from their client’s. Your therapist may know the definition of shame, may have felt shame through their lens and history, but they have never (and will never) have felt shame through yours. And the best therapists know this.

Andee Jaide

How to Support Someone With Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) can be isolating. Stigma and media portrayal of DID keeps many of us quiet about our disorder and shame is an inherent part of DID. So, when we do open up, people around us often don’t know what to do or what to say, how to interact without upsetting us. Family members who were not involved may also feel guilt and confusion as to why they didn’t see the signs of trauma in their loved one. This is a list of 10 things you can do to help your friend or loved one with dissociative identity disorder feel less alone and more accepted. 1. Support your friend or family member with unconditional love and an open mind. 2. Watch for things that are obviously upsetting to your loved one and try to avoid doing them when possible. 3. Ask questions as needed, but back off if asked to or if it is obviously causing stress. 4. Understand to the best of your ability, and try to educate yourself if you feel you are in over your head. 5. Find a support group for significant others of people with DID or general  mental illness — online works. (Btw, I personally hate that term — I don’t feel like we have an illness, but rather a very successful but relatively unique way to survive and relate to the world.) 6. Go with the flow. Relate, to the best of your ability, to whoever is with you at the time. If you are suddenly faced with a very young insider, use small words, short sentences and offer age appropriate activities. A game of Risk with a 5-year-old will just frustrate the child, even if it is in an adult body. Frustration will likely lead to a switch to someone else inside to deal with the frustration. 7. Use the terminology that the person with DID uses. If they grimace when you say a word or ask you not to use certain words, don’t use them. 8. Respect their space, both boundaries in life and in personal space. A person may back up when you come near or shrug off touch. Don’t push it; they’ll let you know when they feel comfortable or safe enough for you to move to the next level in their boundaries. 9. If a person looks confused in the middle of the conversation and can’t follow it, switch subjects or backtrack a little. There may have been a switch you didn’t catch mid-conversation (or sentence) or there may be inner or outside stimulation you are not aware of making it hard to concentrate/follow. 10. There are lots of things you probably already do right — that’s why you have been allowed into the inner circle and know about the DID at all. Be natural, respectful and honest; you will do just fine. Follow this journey on the author’s Facebook page. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Image via contributor